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Victim Blaming

Updated on November 26, 2016

Don’t Blame The Victim

In the past I questioned whether victim blaming was really an issue or if it was only a social justice propagated fallacy that rendered the study of the victim’s role in any violent circumstance, to be politically incorrect and synonymous with blaming the victim. It appeared as though even a simple suggestion that someone could be capable of modifying his or her behavior in order to avoid becoming the victim of a crime was becoming socially unacceptable. Instead of discovering the truth being imperative, avoiding asking questions that may cause a victim any discomfort, was taking precedence.

With the looming threat of UN’s control over our Internet and free speech, I still feel like this theme could be meeting their agenda. Although, I have come to the conclusion that victim blaming is a real issue now. My major concern is our freedom from censorship and restraints becoming secondary to the feelings of victims. Just as Christianity has lost its freedom to express its biblical beliefs about homosexuality; the government could control what individuals can say about victims. Along with the anti-bullying campaign the government could weaponize these ideologies and use them to take away our freedom of speech for the sake of fairness and under the guise of hate speech.

There's a major lack of empathy in the World and it tends to be more extreme in some populaces than others. Collectivist societies focus on the committee and individualistic societies focus on the nuclear family, rather than the well being of the community as whole. When you grow up in a dog eat dog World, it’s easy to become disconnected and have a “me first” mentality.

Another distortive thinking pattern that contributes to victim blaming is a mentality that bad things only happen to bad people and nothing will happen to people who are good. As a self-coping mechanism we see someone suffering and our first subconscious response is to tell ourselves that it could not happen to us. On social media people tend to focus on the events and not the victims and their pain. Many have disassociated and they don’t take into account anyone else’s emotions. They don’t consider the fact that what they say can hurt people or even that hurting others feelings is a problem.

It wasn’t until I experienced victim blaming firsthand that I actually understood what it meant. It wasn’t just an adapting social control instrument endorsed by social justice warriors, but it was actually a real problem for victims.

Nearly everyone has been guilty of and has fallen victim to it him or herself from one degree to another. "They should have been paying attention", "they shouldn’t of put themselves in that situation" and "they were asking for it". Now that I’ve become both the victim and the plaintiff, I wanted to gain a better understanding of first what causes this thought process and second what causes people to feel entitled to act on it.

It should be pointed out that blame the victim tactic is mostly seen in rape cases and I want to stay away from that subject, as I feel it would be better approached by a female who has a sounder understanding of the issue. It causes woman an enormous amount of pain and should be a subject treaded on lightly.

Personal Experience

Some of the comments on social media after having my son ran over brought me to tears. One comment in instance accused me of not paying adequate attention and recommended that I kill myself. After reading some of these comments and while sitting bedside with my son on life support, I found myself following these commenters to their Facebook page. I’d study theses people and think of reasons why they’d say these hurtful things, not to me directly, but on a platform that I would most likely see.

I plan on sharing more about my sons accident in another Hub I’m currently writing and I’m overwhelmed with happiness to share with you he made a 100% recovery! Thanks to the wonderful healthcare providers and our prayers he pulled through! Six month after my son had his accident my Mother was struck by a vehicle and survived after being in a comma for over a month. I plan on writing more about these trials in my life, these beautiful people and their miraculous stories, in the near future.

Blame Game

There are many different types of victim blaming. It can also refer to the dogma that blames individuals for their illnesses do to their health and lifestyle choices. If someone is a smoker or is lazy and eats unhealthy, there’s a question whether they should be entitled to the same health benefits in a social healthcare system.

Another example is someone who believes drug dealing is a victimless crime; they’d have to believe the victim should be blamed for purchasing drugs and that the drug dealer has no moral responsibility, the addict would have fallen victim elsewhere regardless. The victim gets blamed for being an addict, something they have very little control over and the drug dealer is justified because he’s trying to make a living.

Learning Empathy

So, can we unlearn this negative thinking pattern? Is it possible to learn to be more empathetic? Yes! According to neuroscience research 98% of people are capable of feeling empathy. Nearly everyone has the ability to tap into their empathic potential with the exception of those people who display psychopathic tendencies.

This is good news for those people who want to grow as individuals and as a collective. There are now Empathy Museums being organized around the World with the first one now in the UK.

The first step to being more empathetic is listening to others and striving to gain an in-depth perspective on people. Getting into peoples head by walking in their shoes and asking questions. How did this person grow up and what were some mitigating factors, circumstances that could have contributed to the characteristics of this person? What makes them who they are today? Focus on what people are telling you and make a point of reflecting back what they’ve said, so that they’re certain your listening. This is called radical listening. Become a detective and make it your job to study people. Be curious of strangers.

What Kind Of Person Are You?

Do you believe your a good person and do you believe you could be a better person?

See results

I praise loudly. I blame softly. ~Catherine the Great

The Empathy Museum

Imagine going to a Library and instead of reading a book you pick out a stranger and listen to their story. This is one of the themes at the new Empathy Museum in London UK. They promote personal and social change through dialog and empathy. Walking in another person’s shoes and transforming personal relationships is the primary focus of this museum.

Are You Really A Good Person?

Practically everyone considers themselves a good person but how good is everyone really and are they trying to get better. I question whether a person who never focuses on making self-improvements is really a good person at all. They are content with themselves and they’ve decided they don’t need to improve. If you never try to grow as an individual wouldn’t your personality actually deteriorate? There are many contributing factors when developing a negative thinking pattern, such as life's stresses and misfortune. Some factors are subtler and people don’t realize how Media and those around them influence them.

Don Crawly’s 7 Ways to Improve Your Empathy

  1. Listen.
  2. Use empathetic language.
  3. Don’t be judgemental.
  4. Practice curiosity about others.
  5. Challenge your own prejudices.
  6. As for compassion look for similarities instead of differences.
  7. Avoid labeling people.

Victim blaming will remain a problem unless the government decides to change our laws. The concept of freedom of speech hasn’t been around more than a hundred years and it doesn’t appear it’s going to last much longer. The world is becoming a more difficult place to live in and while some people are becoming hardened and self-righteous, others are doing everything they can to make a transformation. As our societies values deteriorate the only values it holds onto is instant self gratification and pleasure. The best thing we can do as individuals is cherish empathy and use none violent communication.


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    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 12 months ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      Liberal authoritarians blame the victim so that they and their ideology are still utterly right, no matter the consequences of their actions or their actions.

    • steve-bc-ca profile image

      steve-bc-ca 12 months ago from West Kelowna, BC, Canada

      I published again for the 5th time without making any changes out of frustration.. and now its featured. lol Thanks for all the help Katie!

    • kbdressman profile image

      kbdressman 12 months ago from Harlem, New York

      Did you get a new email explaining the problem now? You might consider writing a sister hub on how to handle victim blaming. It happens frequently with modern social media. You could share your experience and what helped you, as well as do some research on additional available support groups/resources.

    • steve-bc-ca profile image

      steve-bc-ca 12 months ago from West Kelowna, BC, Canada

      Now this is the fifth time Ive republished this hub. It still won’t pass the quality assessment process and I’m not sure what more I can do. Thanks for the support everyone. I’ll try not to get to frustrated. I’m sure I can figure this out.

    • kbdressman profile image

      kbdressman 13 months ago from Harlem, New York

      I was afraid that you may be worrying about having offended him. That's why I clarified. :) I hope Steve doesn't mind! I didn't mean to step on any toes!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 13 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      Thank you Katie. I was concerned that I may have said something to offend him after reading his reply to my comment. I appreciate the clarification. How kind of you to address this. So glad the problem is fixed.

    • kbdressman profile image

      kbdressman 13 months ago from Harlem, New York

      Audrey, he had some amazon ads on it that were causing it to be unpublished. It took us a while to figure out what was wrong, but it's been fixed now!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 13 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      Why do you feel the need to revise? It's fine as it is. Maybe you misinterpreted my comments. If so, I'm sorry. My comments were focusing on the hub I wrote - not yours. As I stated in my closing remarks - this is a great hub Steve!

    • steve-bc-ca profile image

      steve-bc-ca 13 months ago from West Kelowna, BC, Canada

      I’m at a loss. I don’t know what more I can do to revise this hub as this has been the fourth time its been unpublished.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 13 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      You and I are on the same page. I wrote a hub about being blamed for something you didn't do but your remarkable hub includes your very sad experience along with a powerful message - the importance of empathy!

      We all fall short when it comes to avoiding judgement on others.

      It may take a life-time to stop this habit but stop it we must. We are not in a position to judge others. We must work on our own weaknesses instead.

      Great hub Steve. Sending love, hugs and support.


    • steve-bc-ca profile image

      steve-bc-ca 13 months ago from West Kelowna, BC, Canada

      Thanks Katie for your kind words and very good points. I can see how its a defence mechanism.

    • kbdressman profile image

      kbdressman 13 months ago from Harlem, New York

      I'm so sorry to hear about your experience with your son! I think it's easy to participate in judging other people like this because they are just an abstract concept while we do it. They aren't someone we know and love. We don't know what they like to eat for breakfast and we have no inside jokes. We make those judgements with 20:20 hindsight and forget how easy it is to make a simple mistake. I also think it's a defense mechanism. We tell ourselves that WE could never be the person in that situation. WE know how to handle it. Admitting that it only takes 2 seconds for a tragedy to happen and it can happen to anyone requires us to be vulnerable. And vulnerability is scary.